Unfortunately there are officially no Canadian NHL teams in the playoffs this season. But that doesn't mean children across Canada didn't have a great time playing our national sport. And hey, there's always next year.
Here are six things I learned from being a hockey mom.
1. Anything can become a hockey stick and puck
During hockey season, as long as an item is long and thin your child may use it in place of a hockey stick. A broom will work just fine. A puck can be anything smallish. Furry cat toys work. Expect objects to go whizzing by you for no reason. Hide your breakables and take cover.
2. It's important to know your terms
Hockey terms are important so you can appear to know what you are talking about around other hockey parents and, of course, to impress your hockey-loving offspring.
Know the difference between a shootout and a shutout. No, they are not the same. And yes, it matters.
Shootout: If the game is still tied after five minutes of overtime, each team picks three shooters that individually try to score. This continues until each team has taken the same number of shots and one team scores. It's nerve wracking, to say the least.
Shutout: A goalie that successfully stops the other team from scoring the entire game. It's very cool.
Hat trick: Nothing to do with Halloween or magic shows. It's when a player scores three goals in a single game. It's exciting, especially when it's your kid. Traditionally people throw their hats on the ice when it happens.
Breakaway: When a player has the puck and skates alone towards the goaltender, they are on a breakaway from the other players with a clear path to the goal. It's a fun move to do at home without skates and adds excitement to laundry and taking out the garbage.
3. Always pay attention
If your child scores a goal and you were talking to another mom or checking your Facebook status on your iPhone when it happened, pretend you saw the goal anyhow. TRUST ME. Smile and wave. Everything will be OK.
4. Be prepared
Just like playing the guitar, you will get blisters from tightening your kids skates. A mom recently told me about skate lace tighteners. I am totally buying one next season. Also get a hockey bag on wheels. They are crazy heavy.
5. Start saving for hockey cards
You will know the name and stats of each player on the Toronto Maple Leafs (nsert home team) because your child has memorized everything on the cards and repeats it back constantly. Start saving your money now, hockey cards are expensive. Consider getting a second job.
6. It's all worth it
You will proudly scream out in joyful happiness and elation when your child scores a goal and you actually see it happen. There will be lots of hugs and high fives among the teammates. You might want to cry because you are so proud -- but resist the urge, because it will seriously embarrass your kid. But when you get home you can do a happy dance because you know in your heart being a hockey mom is all worth it.
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If you think your wee one is too young to smell, think again. I have a husband who plays hockey, a son who plays hockey, another son who speed skates and I speed skate. We all work up a sweat and we all smell -- even the little ones (sorry, it's true). The smell from sweaty jerseys, jocks and skates then gets transferred to everything else in the hockey bag. Also make sure the kids are responsible for their own bags -- if they're old enough to play hockey, they're old enough to carry their bags.
This is a two-fold tip (1) it teaches your child independence and (2) it takes the onus off you. Even if you have a little one who is just starting hockey, you can start the process of teaching him how to put on his own equipment by making a game of it. Start by having him choose each piece of equipment he is to put on next. Then as he gets older, have him find the piece of equipment and put it on himself (correcting any mistakes along the way -- the equipment needs to be worn properly to help keep him safe).
This brings to me to hockey laces. After years of tightening and re-tightening skate laces, I discovered laces coated in wax. Regular laces can be difficult to get tight and can loosen up as your little one is on the ice. Waxed laces are designed to stay tight because the friction of the wax keeps them in place. I can't even express to you how much waxed laces have helped me.
My first year being a hockey mom I showed up at the wrong arena for a practice -- twice. Create a calendar to keep track of when and where your child should be to avoid missing any games or practices.
Even if you're bundled up it's always great to have a few blankets. If you don't use them for warmth they make a cozy cushion. Arena seats can be very hard.
Little ones can get bored watching hockey which leads to complaining and/or them wanting to take off and run around. Pack a bag filled with simple activities like colouring books and crayons, books, small toys, and handheld electronics (if you have them).
Disappointment is a part of playing a sport, they're not going to win every game. Take the time to teach your children how to win and lose like a winner. This includes congratulating the other team if they won, supporting their teammates when they lose, and no trash talking. Excitement at winning the big game is allowed.
Follow Miriam Porter on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MiriamRiverP